Mysticism and Kingship in China: The Heart of Chinese Wisdom / Edition 1

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Overview

In this book, Julia Ching offers a magisterial survey of over four thousand years of Chinese civilisation through an examination of the relationship between kingship and mysticism. She investigates the sage-king myth and ideal, and analyses the various skills that have been required as qualifications of leadership. She argues that institutions of kingship were bound up with cultivation of trance states and communication with spirits. Over time, these associations were retained, though sidelined, as the sage-king myth became a model for the actual ruler, with a messianic appeal for the ruled. As a paradigm, it also became appropriated by private individuals who strove for wisdom without becoming kings. As the Confucian tradition interacted with the Taoist and the Buddhist, the religious character of spiritual and mystical cultivation became more pronounced. But the sage-king idea continued, promoting expectation of benevolent despotism rather than democratisation in Chinese civilisation.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ching's study presents a masterful survey of Chinese history and religion." Religious Studies Review

"The most welcome feature of Julia Ching's wide-ranging account of Mysticism and Kingship in China is her frequent and integral use of the tools of comparative religion." Studies in Religion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521468282
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions Series , #11
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Son of Heaven: shamanic kingship 1
2 Son of Heaven: kingship as cosmic paradigm 35
3 The moral teacher as sage: philosophy appropriates the paradigm 67
4 The metaphysician as sage: philosophy again appropriates the paradigm 99
5 The paradigm enshrined: the authority of classics 132
6 The mystic as sage: religion appropriates the paradigm 170
7 The sage-king as messiah: religion again appropriates the paradigm 206
8 All under Heaven: political power and the periphery 235
A glossary of Sino-Japanese names and terms 272
Bibliography 278
Index 294
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